Profit taking, bank concerns push Dow down 48 points

Stocks paused Monday from their big September rally as worries about the financial sector offset excitement over a fresh round of corporate deal-making.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 48 points in a late-day slide, but it’s still up 8 percent for the month, putting it on track for its best September since 1939.

Chip Brian, CEO of SmarTrend, an electronic trend trading system, said Monday’s modest decline was largely tied to investors pocketing profits racked up during the market’s four-week rally.

Prior to Monday the Dow average had risen in each of the past four weeks, its longest winning streak since eight consecutive weekly gains ended in late April when stocks hit their highest levels of the year.

Financial stocks mostly dipped as concern remains about the health of Europe’s banking sector. Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating on Anglo Irish Bank Corp., one of Europe’s more troubled banks in recent months. Global banking giants like Barclays PLC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. each fell more than 1 percent.

Ben & Jerry’s dropping ‘all natural’ from labels

Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is dropping the phrase “all natural” from all labels after a request from a health advocacy group.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the company confirmed the move Monday.

The group told the company last month it should not use “all natural” if products contain alkalized cocoa, corn syrup, hydrogenated oil or other ingredients that are not natural.

South Burlington, Vt.-based Ben & Jerry’s, a unit of consumer products giant Unilever NV, said it’s not changing any recipes. It’s just removing the label from all products, whether or not they are among the majority that contain at least one of the ingredients that CSPI listed.

The Food and Drug Administration has no formal definition for “natural.” But it won’t object to the term as long as products do not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances.

Unilever to buy U.S. rival Alberto Culver for $3.7 billion

Consumer products maker Unilever NV said Monday it has agreed to buy Alberto Culver Co., the U.S. maker of beauty products such as TRESemme, VO5 and Noxzema, for $3.7 billion in a management-backed deal.

Amsterdam-based Unilever, which makes Dove soap, Degree deodorant and Suave shampoo, said it will offer $37.50 per share for Culver, a 19 percent premium from its closing price in New York on Friday. The deal must be approved by regulators and Culver shareholders.

Graham Jones, analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co., said he saw the buy as positive for Unilever.

“It further skews Unilever to high-growth, high-margin personal care categories, gives a more rounded category presence in hair care, and makes it global leader in hair conditioning,” he said Monday.

Unilever said it would use its scale and distribution prowess to promote Culver’s brands more aggressively.